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Trump-Pence Gag Rule Will Have Devastating Impact on Oregon Women

Trump-Pence Gag Rule Will Have Devastating Impact on Oregon Women

The Trump-Pence administration today released a domestic gag rule, which will dismantle the nation’s family planning program and put millions of people’s health at risk.

This gag rule makes it impossible for Planned Parenthood health centers to participate in the Title X program at all. Planned Parenthood serves 41 percent of the people who rely on Title X for care in Oregon, meaning the new restrictions will have a devastating impact on care across the state.

Title X is meant to ensure that every person — regardless of where they live, how much money they make, what their background is or whether they have health insurance — has access to essential, preventive reproductive health care, such as birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and well-woman exams. Title X is an important safety net for people who would otherwise go without health care. This includes communities of color and people with low incomes, two groups that historically face more barriers to care and are less likely to have health insurance.

The Trump-Pence gag rule represents a radical departure from how health care has operated in the United States up until this point. The rule makes it illegal for doctors, nurses, hospitals, community health centers and any other provider in the Title X program to tell patients how they can safely and legally access abortion.

Statement from Lisa Gardner, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon:

“This dangerous policy is an attempt to take away women’s basic rights, period. Planned Parenthood is part of the fabric of our state, and the Trump-Pence rule will be devastating for the 41 percent of Title X patients who rely on us for basic health care. Every woman deserves the best medical care and information, no matter how much money she makes or where she lives. We will never stop fighting for our patients, and to ensure that all people have access to the full range of reproductive health care.”

Statement from Anne Udall, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette:

“As a trusted healthcare provider, Planned Parenthood will always put the interests of patients first and will continue to fight for everyone’s ability to get affordable, quality care. Health care is a human right, and we will not let this stand. The Trump-Pence administration may not think Oregonians deserve care, but we do.”

Statement from Dr. Marguerite P. Cohen, District VIII Legislative Chair, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:

“Under this rule, people will not get the health care they need. They won’t get birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, or even general women’s health exams. This will put affordable health care out of reach for many underserved communities, including Oregonians of color and rural Oregonians. Everyone has the right to access information about their health care — including information about safe, legal abortion. They won’t get it under this rule.”

In May 2018, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum joined 19 other Attorneys General in filing a friend-of-the-court brief challenging the gag rule, which “will open the door to applications from less qualified providers, including those with no experience in providing family planning clinical care and those focused more on their own advocacy than patients’ expressed needs.... Providing resources to these centers in lieu of Title X clinics able to meet the established criteria jeopardizes the health and lives of many women, especially low-income and other at-risk women.”

In June 2018, Oregon House Majority Leader Jennifer Wilson (D-Portland); State Representatives Pam Marsh (D-Ashland), Julie Fahey (D-Eugene), Karin Power (D-Milwaukie) and Carla Piluso (D-Gresham); and State Senators Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis), Laurie Monnes Anderson (D-Gresham) and Lew Frederick (D-Portland) were among 274 state legislators who signed an open letter against the gag rule: “Creating additional barriers for patients seeking access to birth control and other services from their trusted reproductive health care providers does us all a grave disservice…. We believe it is our duty as elected officials to make it easier, not harder, for people to get the health care they need.”

Also in June 2018, Ashland Mayor John Stromberg, Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis and Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett were among 80 mayors who signed a bipartisan open letter to Health Secretary Alex Azar opposing the gag rule: “No one knows better than mayors how devastating it would be to take away access to health care and information from the people that we are honored to represent…. We know our communities, and we know they rely on the trusted care provided through the Title X program.”

In July 2018, Oregon Governor Kate Brown joined two other Governors in threatening to pull their states out of the Title X program in protest of the gag rule: “If the Trump gag rule is adopted and legal challenges are unsuccessful, it would leave me no choice but to act in the best interests of the citizens of Oregon and our state law, and withdraw our state’s participation from an unethical, ineffective Title X program that reduces access to essential preventive health services.”

The Trump-Pence gag rule, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, will do three main things:

  1. Make it illegal for doctors, nurses, hospitals and community health centers across the country that participate in the Title X program to refer their patients for abortion.
  2. The rule also imposes cost-prohibitive and unnecessary “physical separation” requirements on health centers that also provide abortion in an effort to stop Planned Parenthood from participating in Title X. These requirements could include forcing health centers to build separate entrances and exits; construct whole new health centers; or hire a whole second staff of doctors, nurses and administrative staff. None of these requirements contribute to the health of patients.
  3. Remove the guarantee that people are getting full and accurate information about their health care from their doctors. For nearly two decades, Title X law has been clear: Healthcare providers cannot withhold information from you about your pregnancy options. This rule means they can.

For example, under this rule, if a woman is pregnant and wants or needs an abortion, her provider will be prohibited from telling her where she can go to get one. Or if a woman’s pregnancy would severely affect her health — for example, she discovers that she’s pregnant after being diagnosed with cancer — her healthcare provider could refuse to tell her that abortion is even an option.

According to research released in June 2018 by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee:

Posted on February 22, 2019 in News.
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